Formerly a Portuguese colony until 1999, Macau is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in China. This fascinating destination blends the modern and traditional, providing a fusion of cultures. From resorts and hotels to bustling nightlife, it's definitely a destination that never sleeps.
Plus, Macau is kinder on your pocket than some of the bigger Asian destinations, despite being home to numerous luxury hotels and casinos. If you're planning a trip here, this article covers the best things to do in Macau.
Solo Travel in Macau
As a safe city, Macau is an excellent choice for solo travellers. It is considered one of the cities with the lowest crime rates in the world, so you can be assured of your safety while exploring the region. However, it is still essential to be vigilant and cautious, as with any other city.
English speakers are prevalent in Macau, with Chinese and Portuguese being the most popular languages. You will have no difficulty finding English speakers in the many hotels and restaurants in the region.
The Macanese Pataca is the currency used in Macau. However, the Hong Kong Dollar is also widely accepted in the city.
Experience One of Their Many Casinos
Macau is well-known for its opulent casinos, with a gaming revenue that is three times larger than that of Las Vegas, despite its smaller size. The region boasts 36 casinos offering a wide selection of gaming machines and table games, with almost 9000 slot machines and over 3,500 table games available.
While online slots like those on Rainbow Riches Casino may be a common pastime, the experience of playing in Macau is unparalleled, and visitors can even take advantage of free casino shuttle services. For those who love casino games, Macau is undoubtedly the ultimate destination.
Visit The Ruins of St. Paul’s
Aside from the casinos, there’s plenty of history and culture that you can take in when you visit Macau. The Ruins of St Paul’s is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region. St. Paul’s cathedral was once considered to be the finest Christian architecture in the Far East. However, all that remains now is its Renaissance façade.
The ruins are of a 16th-century complex which used to be St Paul’s College and the 17th-century Mater Dei – a Portuguese Church dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle. The church façade and religious museum is iconic and most definitely worth a stop.
After being built in 1637, it stood for nearly 200 years before being destroyed by a typhoon in 1835. This landmark is an unforgettable look into the history of Macau.
See The A-Ma Temple
Located on the southwest tip of Macau, the A-Ma Temple is an ancient Taoist temple that is a must-visit destination. Built in 1488, it was dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. As one of the most significant religious sites in Macau, this Buddhist temple boasts of stunning Chinese architectural design that can easily make you forget the modern casino complexes that surround it.
Divided into six sections – the Gate Pavilion, Prayer Hall, Memorial Arch, Hall of Benevolence, Zhengjiao Chanlin, and Hall of Guanyin – each section features unique and spectacular elements such as stone lions, Matsu statues, and breathtaking views of the bay.
Get Your Heart Pumping at The Macau Tower
Macau is a captivating tourist destination, and the Macau Tower is undoubtedly one of its most iconic landmarks. The Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre is a hub of thrilling activities and awe-inspiring views that every tourist must experience.
For the adventurous at heart, the Macau Tower offers the opportunity to take on exciting challenges such as the sky jump and bungee jump. These adrenaline-pumping activities are sure to give you an unforgettable experience that you will cherish for a lifetime. The sheer thrill of jumping from a height of over 200 meters is definitely an experience.
For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, the Macau Tower is also an excellent observation point to enjoy breathtaking views of the city. You can take in the panoramic vistas of Macau from the observation deck, which offers a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding area.
Moreover, the Macau Tower is home to a revolving restaurant that provides an unparalleled dining experience. As you indulge in the sumptuous cuisine, you can watch the bustling city of Macau move around you, making for an unforgettable culinary experience.
Shop at Senado Square
If you're seeking a break from exploring the rich history of Macau and are in search of a place to unwind, then Senado Square is the perfect destination for you. Located in the heart of Macau, Senado Square is a bustling hub that draws locals and tourists alike, thanks to its vibrant atmosphere and a plethora of shopping and dining options.
As a part of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site, Senado Square is steeped in cultural significance and historical charm. The square's architecture is a beautiful blend of Chinese and Portuguese styles, reflecting the region's rich cultural heritage. The iconic Portuguese pavement, or “calçada portuguesa,” covers the square's ground and adds to its unique and charming character.
To fully experience the beauty and charm of Senado Square, it's best to visit at night when the square is illuminated by the warm glow of streetlights, and the buildings are lit up with vibrant neon signs. This transforms the square into a bustling, vibrant hub that captures the essence of Macau's rich cultural heritage and modernity.
Enjoy Some Pampering
One of the standout features of this vibrant city is its abundance of world-class spas. These spas offer a range of treatments, with an emphasis on wellness experiences that draw from classic Chinese methods and health principles.
The spas in Macau have something for everyone, from traditional Chinese treatments like acupuncture and cupping to more modern therapies such as sound therapy and aromatherapy. Whether you're looking to soothe tired muscles after a long day of sightseeing, or simply looking to unwind and de-stress, there is a treatment that will cater to your needs.
Many spas in Macau use natural ingredients such as herbs and minerals to create their signature treatments, providing a holistic approach to wellness. For example, some spas offer hot stone massages using volcanic stones, which are believed to have healing properties. Others offer treatments that incorporate local ingredients like lotus root or jasmine flowers, known for their relaxing and revitalizing effects.
In addition to their focus on wellness, the spas in Macau also boast luxurious facilities that are sure to impress even the most discerning of visitors. Many spas are housed in opulent resorts and hotels, providing a serene and peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Try The Cuisine
The blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures in Macau has resulted in a distinctive and delicious cuisine that showcases the best of both worlds.
One of the most popular dishes in Macau is the famous Portuguese egg tart, which is a sweet pastry with a custard filling. Another popular pastry is the pork chop bun, which is a sandwich made with a deep-fried pork chop and a soft bun.
Seafood is also a big part of Macanese cuisine, and the city is known for its fresh seafood markets and restaurants. Some of the most popular seafood dishes in Macau include salt and pepper prawns, black pepper crab, and steamed fish with ginger and scallions.
Other signature dishes of Macau include African chicken (a spicy chicken dish with coconut milk and peanuts), minchi (a ground meat and potato stir-fry), and tacho (a stew of pork, vegetables, and Chinese herbs).
Getting Around Macau
Navigating Macau is a breeze thanks to the efficient and reliable public bus system. Operating from 6 am to midnight every day, these buses run like clockwork, ensuring that you can easily explore the city without worrying about transportation. The best part? The cost is incredibly affordable, with each ride on a public bus costing only 6 Macanese pataca, which is equivalent to approximately 60p in British pounds.
For even greater savings, consider purchasing the Macao bus pass, which is available for purchase at supermarkets and convenience shops. With this pass, you can enjoy a 50% discount on various bus trips, making it an even more cost-effective option for getting around the city. Whether you're a budget-conscious traveller or simply looking for a hassle-free way to explore Macau, the public bus system is an excellent choice.
Macau is a relatively small city, and many of the major tourist attractions are located within walking distance of each other. Walking is a great way to explore the city and take in the sights and sounds. Taxis are readily available in Macau, and they are a convenient option for getting around the city. Taxi fares are metered and are based on the distance travelled.
Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular way to explore Macau. There are several bike rental shops located throughout the city, and many of the major roads have dedicated bike lanes. Macau is connected to Hong Kong and several other neighbouring cities by ferry. The ferry terminal is located on the Macau Peninsula, and there are several ferry routes available.
Macau is certainly an exciting city with plenty to see for a variety of solos. Visit here and you'll never run out of things to do.